Sponge-Cake Pudding

Victorian cooks hated to waste food, and had all sorts of creative ways to use up leftovers. This super simple one-sentence recipe is an excellent way to use up leftover sponge cake (or, in my case, to use up a failed pound cake that didn’t rise properly. It’s not a failure if you can turn it into something else!). It works on the same principle as a custard-based bread pudding, just using cake instead of bread.

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Pistachio Cream

“Creams” were a popular 18th century dessert, similar to a custard or flummery. Nearly every 18th century cookbook I’ve seen contains at least a few recipes for different flavors of cream. This pistachio-flavored version comes from the cookbook of John Farley, who was the head cook at the London Tavern, a popular tavern and meeting place during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Mrs. Macnab’s Scones

This recipe was collected by Scottish folklorist F. Marian McNeill and published in her 1929 book, The Scots Kitchen. She writes, “Mrs. Macnab was the wife of a farmer who lived near Ballater. Such was her reputation as a baker that King Frederick of Prussia and other distinguished guests at Balmoral used frequently to go over and have tea with her. It is not possible to impart Mrs. Macnab’s lightness of touch, nor the wine-like air of these regions, which doubtless contributed to her visitors’ enjoyment; but here, at least, is the recipe for her celebrated scones.”

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Broonie

Broonie is a traditional oatmeal gingerbread from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. This particular recipe comes from the folklorist F. Marian McNeill, who collected traditional recipes for her 1929 book The Scots Kitchen. Although she collected recipes from all over Scotland (I made another of her gingerbread recipes in this post), she was born and raised in Orkney, so broonie may have been familiar to her from her childhood.

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Heart Cakes

These 18th century heart cakes are a variation on queen cakes, which were also often baked in heart-shaped tins. This recipe, from Charlotte Mason’s 1777 book The Lady’s Assistant, spruces up a basic queen cake recipe with the addition of candied orange peel and citron. You could certainly bake them in regular muffin tins, too – but as hearts, they are perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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Fine French Macaroones

Macaroons are small, delicate biscuits made with almonds, sugar, and egg whites – not to be confused with sandwich-cookie style macarons, which weren’t invented until the 1930s. The original macaroons date back to at least the 14th or 15th centuries. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, they were usually served with wine or liquor as a light refreshment, or crushed and used in trifles or other desserts. They could come in several different flavors, but most commonly were made with either rose water or orange-flower water, as in this Regency era version.

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